In one recent 10 year period, tornadoes in the United States resulted in an average of 110 deaths per year and annual losses ranging from $500 million to $9.6 billion, so trying to establish patterns and improve forecasting models is not just an idle mathematical exercise.
A new examination of tornado records during the past 60 years indicates that tornado outbreaks (six or more tornadoes during a limited time) have become more frequent. Such outbreaks result in the largest numbers of deaths and injuries, as well as the most property destruction. The study, published recently in Nature Communications, also shows that mathematical models show the chance of such extreme events is growing over time. Continue reading “Climate: Are tornado outbreaks becoming more frequent?”→
Finding a signal amidst the climate noise isn’t easy
FRISCO — Teasing out a link between large-scale atmospheric patterns and specific weather events isn’t easy against the backdrop of natural variability.
But a new study of the El Niño-La Niña cycle in the Pacific Ocean suggests that La Niña — the cool phase of the cycle — increases the frequency of tornadoes and hail storms in some of the most susceptible regions of the United States.
During La Niña, both vertical wind shear and surface warmth and moisture increase significantly in the southern states, making conditions favorable to severe storm occurrence.
New study could help produce better tornado forecasting
FRISCO — Under certain conditions, wildfire smoke transported thousands of miles can intensify tornadoes in U.S., according to University of Iowa researchers, who studied how smoke from agricultural burning in Central America affected tornado conditions in the United States.
FRISCO — Tracking tornado trends is a big deal in the global warming era, as researchers seek to determine whether climate change will result in more catastrophic and life-threatening weather events.
Since the 1950s, researchers say, the overall number of annual tornadoes has remained steady, but a new analysis of data shows there are fewer days with tornadoes each year, but on those days there are more tornadoes.
Cooler Pacific Ocean temps may drive tornado activity into southern U.S.
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — After studying more than 56,000 tornados, researchers at the University of Missouri say they’ve found a clear link between Pacific Ocean sea surface temperatures and the patterns of storms that spawn the violent twisters. The findings could help scientists predict the type and location of tornado activity in the U.S.
When surface sea temperatures were warmer than average, the U.S. experienced 20.3 percent more tornadoes that were rated EF-2 to EF-5 on the Enhanced Fuijta (EF) scale. (The EF scale rates the strength of tornados based on the damage they cause. The scale has six category rankings from zero to five.)
SUMMIT COUNTY — New satellite technology that can detect lightning inside clouds and track cloud formation may help weather forecasters develop earlier warnings for severe weather, especially tornadoes.
The national average for tornado warnings is 14 minutes. More time would give people in harm’s way a better chance to protect themselves, said the NOAA and NASA scientists working on the new GOES-R technology. The satellites will be able to monitor thunderstorm development with more temporal and spatial detail. Continue reading “New satellites may lead to earlier tornado warnings”→